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  1. #281
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    Because those medical dispensaries are such a huge problem for civil society...

    From the LA Times:

    U.S. raids L.A. marijuana shops

    Federal officials brought their war on medical marijuana dispensaries to Los Angeles on Tuesday, raiding several shops and issuing warning letters to dozens more.

    Officials at the U.S. attorney's office said it was the first large-scale federal action taken against cannabis shops in the city, and said more will probably follow.

    "We couldn't do all of L.A. at once," said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the office. "There's just too many stores."

    The crackdown adds a dramatic element to the already tense fight over the fate of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. And it underscores the stern stance of the federal government that the sale and distribution of cannabis is illegal, no matter what cities do to try to regulate the industry.

    Over the last year, federal authorities have targeted pot businesses across California, including a high-profile raid at a marijuana trade school in Oakland, where proceeds on medical marijuana are taxed.

    The Southern California effort began in October in Orange County and has since moved east into the Inland Empire and north into Los Angeles County. "Now we have arrived at the city of Los Angeles," Mrozek said.

    Prosecutors went to court Tuesday to file civil asset forfeiture complaints against the owners of three Eagle Rock properties for allowing three commercial marijuana stores to operate: Together for Change Collective, House of Kush and ER Collective.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration also executed search warrants at three locations — in downtown, Boyle Heights and Silver Lake.

    Mrozek said authorities have mailed warning letters to the property owners and operators of an additional 67 dispensaries, mostly in Eagle Rock and downtown, giving them two weeks to comply with federal law. A marijuana business in Huntington Park, believed to be the only one in that city, was also told to shut down.

    The actions come as L.A. officials and medical marijuana activists gear up for a ballot measure fight over the fate of a recent city ban on dispensaries.

    The City Council approved a ban on the storefront sale of marijuana this summer, saying that each of the estimated 750 pot shops operating across the city must close. The ordinance would allow small groups of patients to grow and share the drug.

    But before the ban went into effect, activists seeking to strike it down saw their challenge qualify for the ballot. That means the City Council now must choose whether to repeal the ordinance, replace it with a modified version or let voters decide. Several council members, including Jose Huizar, who pushed for the ban, say they intend to put the referendum on the March 5 ballot, when voters will choose a mayor, city controller, city attorney and eight council members.

    Huizar, who represents Eagle Rock and much of downtown, cheered the federal crackdown and called on state legislators "to create a better way of providing access for seriously ill patients while removing the scores of profiteers and recreational users who currently dominate the market."

    Huizar and others complain that California's law guaranteeing patients safe access to medical marijuana is too vague in how the drug should be regulated.

    In the early days of President Obama's tenure, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. said federal prosecutors would not target medical marijuana users and caregivers as long as they followed state laws. But as the risk of prosecution diminished, storefront dispensaries and enormous growing operations proliferated in California, often in brazen defiance of zoning laws and local bans.

    Last year, the four U.S. attorneys assigned to the state announced that they were taking aim at large-scale growers.

  2. #282
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    From Bloomberg:

    Contempt for Congress Rampant as Public Rejects Sacrifice

    The U.S. public is critical of both Republicans and Democrats in Congress for failing to resolve such issues as the national debt while rejecting the sacrifices that may be needed to fix it.

    According to a Bloomberg National Poll, Republicans in Congress have an unfavorable rating of 51 percent, and Democrats are only in slightly better shape, with 49 percent of poll respondents viewing them unfavorably.

    “Congress hasn’t been able to do anything except name post offices over the past two years,” said Steve Crews, a 29-year- old writer and independent voter from Long Beach, California. “As soon as one party or the other becomes a majority, they think they have this mandate from God Almighty and the other side must be the devil incarnate,” he said.

    With Congress recessing until after the Nov. 6 election, lawmakers left a pile of unresolved issues. Chief among them is a debt-reduction agreement that would address the expiring 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and $1.2 trillion in automatic spending reductions set to begin in January. The deficit is projected this year to reach $1.1 trillion, which would make it the fourth consecutive year the government has run trillion-dollar shortfalls.
    Deficit Concerns

    The deficit, while important, is second to unemployment and jobs as the most important issue facing the country right now, according to the public’s response in the poll.

    “One of their purposes is to take care of our bills, and they somehow thought it was OK to just continue to spend,” said Cedric Puckett, a 43-year-old retired Navy veteran from New Port Richey, Florida. “We can’t run our households like they run our government,” he said.

    Even with the public’s frustration with Congress’s inability to address the national debt, there’s little appetite for the type of tax-and-spending measures budget experts say would be necessary to balance the nation’s long-term fiscal demands.

    Fifty-four percent aren’t willing to cap Medicare benefits and raise the eligibility age to 67; 52 percent don’t want to reduce the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security recipients; 64 percent balk at an increase in individual tax rates; and 58 percent don’t support eliminating some tax deductions, such as those for home mortgage interest or charitable giving.
    Tax the Rich

    Martha Verrill, a 78-year-old retired education worker from West Minot, Maine, said the wealthy should be taxed at a higher rate as opposed to middle- and lower-income Americans, who also risk losing vital Social Security and Medicare benefits.

    “I just don’t think they’re paying their fair share,” said Verrill, who said she’s an independent voter. “If they cut my Social Security, the way everything else is going up, I would have to give up my home,” she said. “I’m not one for politics, but when they start knocking on the door of my existence, I perk my ears up.”

    Puckett, the retired Navy veteran, was also anxious about entitlement benefit cuts that he’ll rely on in his retirement. “If they do that to seniors who are 65 years and older now, what will they do to us in 25 years?” he said.

    Other respondents said increasing taxes also isn’t the solution. “The taxes on capital gains definitely need to go up,” said Crews, the California writer. In general, “the U.S. government brings in more than enough taxes to cover its needs,” he said. “We just keep going off on these wild adventures and draining the Treasury,” said Crews, referring to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Vote Split

    The anti-Congress sentiment isn’t aimed at either party in particular. Republicans and Democrats are running almost even when it comes to voter preferences in the November election.

    Forty-five percent of likely voters said they would back a Republican in a congressional race while 43 percent said they would choose the Democrat if the election were held today. Independent voters, who will be crucial to determining control of the House and Senate, favor Republicans by 9 percentage points.

    Likely voters assign slightly more blame to congressional Republicans, at 41 percent, than to President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, at 39 percent, for failing to change the partisan tone in Washington. The Sept. 21-24 survey of 789 likely voters had an error margin of 3.5 percentage points.
    Washington Atmosphere

    One thing a majority of Americans agree on: they aren’t convinced the outcome of the presidential election will change the atmosphere in Washington, regardless of who wins.

    Fifty-five percent say Congress will continue to be an impediment to progress after Election Day, while 32 percent said lawmakers will get the message and work together.

    “It never does change, even when they had a Democratic Congress and a Democratic president nothing happened,” said Sean Connor, a 38-year-old mental health worker and independent voter from Phoenix, Arizona who plans to vote for Democrats this year. “It’s just more of the same.”

  3. #283
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    From Pat Buchanan at The American Conservative:

    Whoever Wins, We’re in for an Age of Austerity

    America's demographic crisis will stretch our entitlements past the breaking point.

    “Are the good times really over for good?” asked Merle Haggard in his 1982 lament.

    Then, the good times weren’t over. In fact, they were coming back, with the Reagan recovery, the renewal of the American spirit and the end of a Cold War that had consumed so much of our lives.

    Yet whoever wins today, it is hard to be sanguine about the future.

    The demographic and economic realities do not permit it.

    Consider. Between 1946 and 1964, 79 million babies were born–the largest, best-educated and most successful generation in our history. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both born in 1946, were in that first class of baby boomers.

    The problem.

    Assume that 75 million of these 79 million boomers survive to age 66. This means that from this year through 2030, an average of nearly 4 million boomers will be retiring every year. This translates into some 11,000 boomers becoming eligible for Medicare and Social Security every single day for the next 18 years.

    Add in immigrants in that same age category and the fact that baby boomers live longer than the Greatest Generation or Silent Generation seniors, and you have an immense and unavoidable increase coming in expenditures for our largest entitlement programs.

    Benefits will have to be curbed or cut and payroll taxes will have to rise, especially for Medicare, to make good on our promises to seniors.

    As for the rest of our federal budget of nearly $4 trillion, we have run four consecutive deficits of over $1 trillion. To bring that budget to balance, freezes would have to be imposed and cuts made in spending for defense and other social programs.

    From California to Wisconsin to New York, we see the process at work at the state level. Government salaries are frozen, government payrolls are cut, government pensions and programs are scaled back.

    California and Illinois are on the precipice of default. Cities like Detroit, Birmingham, Stockton and San Bernardino are already there.

    As for national defense, how long can we afford to spend more than the 10 other top nations combined? How long can we continue to defend scores of nations half a world away? How many more trillion-dollar wars like Iraq and Afghanistan can we fight on borrowed money?

    Moreover, the day of the great national enterprises is over.

    FDR had his New Deal and World War II, Ike his federal highway system, Kennedy his space program, LBJ his Great Society, Reagan his military buildup and tax cuts, Bush his two wars and tax cuts, Obama his Obamacare.

    But there is nothing left in the till to do big things. One sees only deficits and debt all the way to the horizon.

    Europe has arrived at where we are headed. In the south of the old continent–Spain, Italy and Greece–the new austerity has begun to imperil the social order. In the north, the disposition to be taxed to pay for other nations’ social safety nets is disappearing.

    With government in the U.S. at all levels consuming 40 percent of gross domestic product, and taxes 30 percent, taxes will have to rise and government spending be controlled or cut. The alternative is to destroy the debt by depreciating the dollars in which it is denominated–i.e., by Fed-induced inflation.

    But you can only rob your creditors once. After that, they never trust you again.

    There is another social development rarely discussed.

    The workers who are replacing retiring baby boomers in the labor force are increasingly minorities.

    Black folks and Hispanics alone account now for 30 percent of the population–and rising rapidly.

    Yet these two minorities have high school dropout rates of up to 50 percent in many cities, and many who do graduate have math, reading and science scores at seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade levels.

    Can their contributions to an advanced economy be as great as were those of baby boomers of the ’60s and ’70s, whose SAT scores were among the highest we ever recorded? U.S. scores in global competition have been plummeting toward Third World levels.

    Everyone talks about how we are going to raise test scores. But, despite record and rising investments in education per student, no one in decades has found a way to do this consistently.

    Moreover, while boomers were almost all born into families where mother and father were married and living together, Hispanics have a 53 percent illegitimacy rate, African-Americans a 73 percent rate.

    Among the white poor and working class, the illegitimacy rate is now 40 percent–almost twice as high as it was in black America when Pat Moynihan wrote his 1965 report on the crisis of the black family.

    And between the illegitimacy rate and the drug-use rate, dropout rate, crime rate and incarceration rate, the correlation is absolute.

    Some of us are often accused of always “crying wolf.”

    But it is worth noting that one day the wolf came.

  4. #284
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Consider. Between 1946 and 1964, 79 million babies were born–the largest, best-educated and most successful generation in our history. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both born in 1946, were in that first class of baby boomers.
    Most successful? I laugh at that claim, unless you define success as being the first generation to have children with worse economic prospects than their own. The baby boom generation has been a DISASTER.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Most successful? I laugh at that claim, unless you define success as being the first generation to have children with worse economic prospects than their own. The baby boom generation has been a DISASTER.
    They stewarded the largest growth in national wealth ever.

  6. #286
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    They stewarded the largest growth in national wealth ever.
    An illusion. It was mostly on credit.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  7. #287
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    You're saying US growth in the second half of the 20th century was an illusion?

  8. #288
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    You're saying US growth in the second half of the 20th century was an illusion?
    No, I'm saying US economic growth for the last quarter century was an illusion. Baby boomers weren't responsible for the economic growth of the 50s and 60s (they were children), and the WWII generation was still in charge in the 70s. Baby boomers became the predominant economic force in the 80s.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  9. #289
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    Well either way I think we are talking past each other, you discussing the credit explosion post 80's and I discussing the growth in GDP under the boomers, and after ww2.

    Regardless, your postulation about the relative success of the boomers doesn't really have any bearing on the argument of the article.

    That is unless you were just looking for something to disagree with.

  10. #290
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Well either way I think we are talking past each other, you discussing the credit explosion post 80's and I discussing the growth in GDP under the boomers, and after ww2.

    Regardless, your postulation about the relative success of the boomers doesn't really have any bearing on the argument of the article.

    That is unless you were just looking for something to disagree with.
    I'm arguing against a fundamental premise of Buchanan's argument, that the US economy has actually been healthy recently. GDP growth based upon a credit explosion is an illusion, because when that credit bubble bursts, all of that wealth vanishes. Most people think this is just a recent problem (started during Bush II), but it has been going on for decades.

    Baby boomer spending and parenting habits are at the heart of why I believe they are the worst generation in US history. They were handed everything and they blew it.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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